Penalties for violating COVID-19 safety rules in student code, including hosting prohibited parties

Dear WMU students,

Everyone on campus is eager to welcome you next week for the start of our fall semester. Our faculty and staff have been putting a lot of thought and effort into providing you with a great educational experience in a safe and healthy environment.

Our Safe Return Plan details the myriad steps we have taken to try to keep everyone safe. Critical to our collective success is that we all behave responsibly. As Vice President for Student Affairs Diane Anderson announced earlier this week, we are updating the WMU Student Code of Conduct to reflect the need to demonstrate a shared responsibility in keeping everyone safe and healthy. The code’s changes (found in section 14, Harm to Persons) mean  there are consequences—including suspension—for those who fail to comply with the Safe Return Plan, for those who host, organize or attend on- or off-campus gatherings that fall outside of the plan or otherwise show noncompliance with state-level executive orders or local health department policies.

Additionally, on Monday, a Bronco Student Pledge goes live online. Under the pledge, you are agreeing to being an active participant in keeping our campus and local communities safe from the spread of COVID-19 by following health and safety protocols specified in the WMU Safe Return Plan and adhering to behavior expectations designed to foster the well-being of all members of the WMU community. When you log into GoWMU, you will need to affirm your commitment to the pledge. If you do not affirm, you will not be able to login.

When we surveyed students this summer, not surprisingly, there was variability in opinion over what type of educational experience students wanted. Our faculty have also developed an array of online offerings to meet the needs of the 25% of you who want a fully distance schedule. However, three out of four students responded they either wanted a fully in-person educational experience or a hybrid experience with some in-person and some distance classes. The Safe Return Plan was developed to make that possible. While the plan includes social distancing and masking requirements for those coming to campus, 85% of students said they could adapt to the Safe Return Plan or were not concerned about it. Some (11%) even said that based on the plan, they were going to enroll for the fall when they previously had planned not to do so.

We can have a successful return to campus, but to stay here, we need everyone to behave responsibly at all times, whether on or off campus and regardless of the situation. Don’t think that you can let your guard down for one day without consequences to yourself or others. Let’s learn from the experiences on some other campuses and avoid allowing one lapse by a few to negatively affect us all.

Be prepared. Review the Student Code of Conduct, check your email regularly and visit the Safe Return Plan website for updates to processes and protocols. And, as always, if you have any health-related questions, please contact the Sindecuse Health Center.

I look forward to a great fall semester. Be Smart. Be Safe. Be Broncos.


Edward Montgomery